Thursday, December 6, 2012
1014 Tisch Hall
This talk explores the design histories of northern-made goods destined for southern slave plantations. To succeed in the southern market, manufacturers of hoes, hats, shoes and shovels needed to satisfy slaves as well as slaveholders. In the circuits of knowledge that linked plantation and factory, enslaved men and women played a collaborative role in the design of particular textiles and tools; their preferences for certain products and critiques of others structured patterns of labor hundreds of miles to the north. This investigation brings together the concerns of material culture studies, history of technology, business history, and the history of slavery.